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Solon(sō`lən), c.639–c.559 B.C., Athenian statesman, lawgiver, and reformer. He was also a poet, and some of his patriotic verse in the Ionic dialect is extant. At some time (perhaps c.600 B.C.) he led the Athenians in the recapture of Salamis from the Megarians. He was elected chief archonarchons
[Gr.,=leaders], in ancient Athens and other Greek cities, officers of state. Originally in Athens there were three archons: the archon eponymos (so called because the year was named after him), who was the chief officer of the state; the archon basileus,
..... Click the link for more information. in 594 at a time of social, economic, and political stress in Athens. With most of the land and political power in the hands of the nobles, the peasants were rapidly losing not only their land but their freedom as well. Solon annulled all mortgages and debts, limited the amount of land anyone might add to his holdings, and outlawed all borrowing in which a person's liberty might be pledged. This last reform put an end to serfdom in Attica. Other economic reforms included a ban on the export of all agricultural products except olive oil and the granting of citizenship to immigrant artisans. Solon also made important constitutional changes. The assembly was opened to all freemen, the AreopagusAreopagus
[Gr.,=hill of Ares], rocky hill, 370 ft (113 m) high, NW of the Acropolis of Athens, famous as the sacred meeting place of the prime council of Athens. This council, also called the Areopagus, represented the ancient council of elders, which usually combined judicial
..... Click the link for more information. was continued with new powers, and the Council of Four Hundred was created to represent the propertied classes and to prepare the agenda for the popular assembly. Although there was opposition to Solon's reforms, they subsequently became the basis of the Athenian state. He also introduced a more humane law code to replace the code of DracoDraco
, fl. 621 B.C., Athenian politician and law codifier. Of his codification of Athenian customary law only the section dealing with involuntary homicide is preserved.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Solon(sōlən), city (1990 pop. 18,548), Cuyahoga co., NE Ohio, a suburb of ClevelandCleveland.
1 City (1990 pop. 505,616), seat of Cuyahoga co., NE Ohio, on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River; laid out (1796) by Moses Cleaveland, chartered as a city 1836.
..... Click the link for more information. ; founded 1820, inc. as a city 1960. Its manufactures include metal products, machinery, electrical products and equipment, tools, and chemicals.
Born between 640 B.C. and 635 B.C.; died circa 559 B.C. Athenian political figure and social reformer.
Solon was descended from an impoverished aristocratic line founded by Codrus. For a number of years he engaged in overseas trade and traveled extensively. He served as a general in Athens’ war with Megara for the possession of Salamis in the late seventh century, achieving renown. After being elected archon and aisymnetes (reconciler of public disputes) in 594, he enacted several sociopolitical reforms. The first reform, the seisachtheia (literally, “shaking off of burdens,” that is, the removal of mortgage pillars [horos] from poor Athenians’ land plots), returned landholdings to indebted peasants and abolished enslavement for debt. Athenians sold into slavery for debts were redeemed and returned to their homeland. The law on freedom to draw up wills made it possible for family landed estates to be broken up into smaller holdings. Solon enacted several reforms to benefit the merchants and artisans. He standardized the system of weights and measures, replaced Aeginetan coins with the more current coins of Euboea, and granted merchants the right to form partnerships.
Solon’s constitutional reform created a timocratic government, that is, a government based on the property qualifications of its citizens. The citizens were divided, according to the income they received from their lands, into four classes: pentiakosiomedimnae, hippeis (knights), zeugitai, and thetes. The political rights of each class were determined by the volume of property. Solon gave more power to the ecclesia (popular assembly) and created two new organs of administration: the boule (council of 400) and the heliaea (court of jurors). Solon’s reforms helped do away with vestiges of the clan system and the rule of the clan aristocracy and prepared the way for Athenian slave-holding democracy.
One of the first Attic poets, Solon wrote elegies and iambs. According to Greek tradition, he is included among the Seven Wise Men of Greece.
REFERENCESEngels, F. “Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti, i gosudarstva.” In Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21, ch. 5.
Lentsman, la. A. “Raby v zakonakh Solona.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1958, no. 4.
Lentsman, la. A. “Dostovernost’ antichnoi traditsii o Solone.” In the collection Drevnii mir. Moscow, 1962.
Freeman, K. The Work and Life of Solon. Cardiff-London, 1926.
Masaracchia, A. Solone. Florence, 1958.
Woodhouse, W. J. Solon the Liberator. New York, 1965.
S. S. SOLOV’EVA
a tribal group of the Evenki peoples in the People’s Republic of China. Living in Inner Mongolia and the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region, they speak a dialect of Evenki and practice shamanism. They have been strongly influenced and partially assimilated by the Manchus and Mongols. Their primary occupations are farming, livestock raising, and hunting.